Southend United were handed a 3-1 defeat by FC Halifax Town at the Shay Stadium
Jordan Slew’s tap-in six minutes from the interval put the home side in front before Slew turned provider for Billy Waters to head in a second shortly after the restart. Niall Maher then wrapped up the victory on an afternoon to forget for Phil Brown’s side as he headed in Martin Wood’s free-kick.
Southend did manage to grab a consolation goal late on as Jack Bridge picked out Rhys Murphy with a low ball into the box that was finished off by the Blues striker, but the damage had been done as Southend suffered defeat.
Blues made just the one enforced change for the trip to West Yorkshire with goalkeeper Steve Arnold being replaced by Harry Seaden after the Southend number one dislocated a finger in training earlier in the week.
Following back-to-back draws, Phil Brown’s side were looking to get back to winning ways and were inches away from making an ideal start at the Shay Stadium when a Jack Bridge cross picked out Rhys Murphy inside three minutes, but the striker was unable to find the target from close range.
Once again backed by superb travelling support, Southend weathered a mini-storm from Halifax in the form of a series of corners, before Blues created another golden chance midway through the first-half when Bridge flashed a cross across goal that managed to evade everyone in white.
The Shaymen had looked threatening from set-pieces and balls into the box from wide positions and they had a handball shout go begging when Martin Woods’ free-kick into the near-post was put behind by Murphy, with the referee uninterested in the home side’s appeals.
But Halifax’s wing-play would eventually unlock the Blues defences as Tom Bradbury found space down the left to fizz in a wicked ball towards Jordan Slew who was on hand to tap in and put the home side in front at the interval.
Southend’s problems though only worsened after the break as they fell further behind just two minutes into the second-half when Billy Waters managed to head Slew’s cross out of the reach of Seaden to put Halifax firmly in control.
Brown had seen enough and immediately made a triple change with Shaun Hobson, Terrell Egbri and Will Atkinson coming on, but it didn’t turn the tide. Instead, Halifax should have scored a third as Waters picked out the unmarked Matty Warburton who fluffed his lines at the vital moment.
There was still time for Blues to mount a comeback and they had a half-chance come and go as Hobson flicked on a set-piece from the right towards Josh Coulson but the centre-half was unable to direct his subsequent header on target.
But any hope of a comeback was ended when the home side scored a third to kill the game off. Woods, who’d been excellent with his deliveries all afternoon, whipped in another dangerous ball that was glanced into the back of the net by Shaymen captain Niall Maher.
Southend did manage to get themselves on the scoresheet and grab a consolation late on as Bridge’s low ball into the box was turned home by Murphy, but it was too little too late for Brown’s side who suffered defeat ahead of Tuesday night’s home game against Aldershot Town.
FC Halifax Town XI: Johnson, Benn (Warren 30’), Debrah, Bradbury, Green, Warburton, Waters, Gilmour (Vale 76’), Slew (Allen 70’), Woods, Maher (C). Subs Not Used: Spence, Swaby-Nevin
Blues XI: Seaden, Ralph, Coulson, Bridge, Dunne, Murphy, Dalby, Ferguson (Hobson 51’), Phillips (Atkinson 51’), Demetriou, White (C) (Egbri 52’). Subs Not Used: Andeng Ndi, Kargbo
Referee: Andrew Miller
Assistants: Alex Clark & Adam Nichol
Fourth Official: Mark Ryan
FC Halifax Town: Jordan Slew 39’, Billy Waters 47’, Niall Maher 73’
Southend United: Rhys Murphy 88’
FC Halifax Town: Kieran Green 35’, Jordan Slew 63’, Niall Maher 90'
Southend United: Harry Phillips 28’, Harry Seaden 49’, Jason Demetriou 59’, James Dunne 63’, Josh Coulson 72’, Jack Bridge 90’